Archive for category Mighty Good Recipe

Mighty Good Recipe: Chinese Mapo Tofu

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I know what some of y’all are thinking. Tofu?!?!? No way in hell I am eating tofu. But before you completely turn your nose up at it, check out this Chinese Mapo Tofu recipe.

I made it a few weeks back and was impressed with how delicious it tasted and how easy it was to make. One of the keys to enjoying tofu is getting a texture/firmness that is to your liking. This recipe uses a firm tofu, a preference of mine, and one that can also stand up to the stir-fry cooking process without breaking apart.

All of the ingredients are super easy to find, and with the exception of maybe the bean sauce, they can all be found at Kroger. I purchased my bean sauce at K Oriental on Bowman for something like $4 a bottle.

Like most stir-fry recipes, the key is prepping all of your ingredients beforehand. Once that pan is piping hot, you better be ready to go. If you’re not a fan of ground pork, you can certainly substitute ground chicken or turkey … or even go vegetarian. I’ve made it both ways (meat/no meat) and was happy each time. This Mapo Tofu goes great over a pile of steamed rice.

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Mighty Good Recipe: Mongolian Beef

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A few weeks back, I invited a few friends over for a relaxed evening of good food and wine. My cooking theme was Chinese … and I’m talking about REALLY Americanized Chinese food.

I prepared dishes like Chicken Chop Suey, Pork Potstickers, Egg Drop Soup, Stir-Fried Tofu,and Mongolian Beef.

I’ve always loved Chinese food. At the age of six, Golden Star Restaurant in Houston was my first food crush, so to be able to re-create some of these dishes in my own home has always been super fun, albeit, at times quite disappointing. It was also one of the first cuisines I tried to truly master early on in my cooking endeavors. To this day, my attempt at Teriyaki Chicken in college goes down as my worst dish ever.

Eighteen years later, and with tons of failures and successes under my belt, I still get a little excited about cooking Chinese food at home. I guess the process of it all has always fascinated me. So much attention is devoted to preparation—going to the K Oriental on Bowman, lining up all of the ingredients the counter, and washing and chopping veggies. Everything has to be at your fingertips, because once that first snow pea hits the oil, all hell breaks loose for about 10 minutes.

It’s a cooking rush!

Anyways, I wanted to share one of the recipes for Mongolian Beef. Don’t laugh, I found this P.F. Chang’s knock-off recipe, made a few adjustments, and damn if it wasn’t fantastic.

Here are my suggestions:
1. Follow the directions precisely, but add some chopped boy choy and fresh sprouts to the mix.
2. Buy yourself an excellent quality flank steak. Spend a few more bucks … believe me, it makes a difference. One suggestion is to go to H.A.M. For mine, I was able to score some Creekstone Beef at Weldon’s in Hot Springs.
3. Make more of a meal out of it by preparing some basic egg noodles and tossing them in at the end.

Enjoy this recipe … and I hope you have just as much fun cooking it as I did.

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Mighty Good Recipe: A Perfect Pot Roast

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I’ve been pretty open about my disdain for pot roast. It’s never been a dish that’s overly impressed me, but much of that could be attributed to my upbringing. My mother was a fantastic cook, but honestly, pot roast wasn’t her strong suit. She didn’t make the dish very often, and when she did, I wouldn’t say it was her strong suit.

So as a kid, I didn’t eat it much at home … which meant I rarely ordered it at a restaurant … which is also means why 30 years later, pot roast is just not my thing.

Until now.

Thanks to a recent dinner with Zara Abbasi Wilkerson in which she prepared oxtail, I was inspired to give slow-cooked beef another shot. It also didn’t hurt that I’d just received a beautiful 3-lb roast in my Grass Roots Farmers’ Cooperative meat-share package.

While I rarely watch the Food Network anymore, I do tend to bounce around its website when searching for a quality recipe. The recipes are often well laid out, user-friendly, and include comprehensive reviews, as was the case with this Perfect Pot Roast.

This ten-ingredient, one-pot recipe is not only supper easy, but also yields any amazing pot roast, with a post clean-up that’s easy to manage. I followed the directions precisely (although I did add some mushrooms) and was 100% pleased with the results. For me, using a good Dutch oven, along with a quality piece of meat and a nice, bold red wine were absolutely essential elements.

I ended up serving the super tender beef over mashed potatoes and a side of roasted Brussels sprouts. That’s a tough dish to beat when it comes to comfort food.

Some would even say it’s perfect.

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Mighty Good Recipe: Carnitas

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I’ve been dying to make some carnitas ever since I received my shipment of meat from the Grass Roots Cooperative and it included a beautiful 3-lb pork roast shoulder. Truth be told, I’ve never attempted to make carnitas at home. I guess feeling like I wouldn’t be able to replicate a Mexican restaurant’s authenticity has made me hesitant to try it myself.

But quality meat (Falling Sky Farm) sometimes deserves to be cooked with a little risk-taking involved–stepping out of my comfort zone to prepare something truly special.

After scanning the web, I was able to locate this recipe.

Let me tell you, these carnitas ended up being one of the best dishes I’ve prepared in a long time.

The preparation is not at all difficult but does take time and a few different cooking preparations. First, cut the pork shoulder into large cubes. The cubes don’t necessarily need to be uniform, but something approximately 2-inches by 2-inches works well. You’ll be tempted to start trimming fat during this stage. Don’t!! That fat is the key to this dish. Next, sear the pork cubes on all sides in hot oil (takes about 5 minutes) and add the rest of the ingredients to a large pot. Bring everything to boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and let cook for almost 3 hours.

At about 2.5 hours of cooking time, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Remove the chunks of pork from the pot and place on a baking sheet. Take some of the reserved liquid and spoon over the pork chunks. Place the baking sheet in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove … spoon more liquid on pork. Repeat this step 3 times (or 3o minutes). This part of the cooking process will create a crispy exterior, while allowing the interior to remain super tender.

Remove the baking sheet from oven and let the meat rest for 10-15 minutes. Once the meat has cooled, begin to pull apart, separating (and discarding) and any large pieces of fat. Once finished, mix in as much of the reserved liquid as you see fit. The more, the merrier.

I served the meat on a corn tortilla with some fresh, diced onions and a little cilantro. It ends up eating like a very traditional street taco.

If you’re cooking for a larger group, feel free to use a much bigger cut of meat.

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